Setting up custom zones

When we refer to zones, we mean portions of a screen that change content independently. Zoning is great way to segment your digital signage content. We have premade certain zone configurations, but if you have something different in mind, you can always set up any configuration yourself. So let’s get to it!

Pre-made zones

Zone presets available at PlaySignage

The concept

What is aspect ratio?

Aspect ratio (AR) describes the proportional relationship of screen width and height (width divided by height). So a square would have an aspect ratio of 1:1, which is same as 2:2 or 100:100. Most TV screens today are in 16:9 and so is the FullHD resolution 1920×1080, because:

16 / 9 = 1.7777…
1920 / 1080 = 1.7777…

Playlist in playlist

When you create a zoned playlist from one of our presets, behind the scenes the system creates a playlist for each zone (with appropriate aspect ratios) and then creates a final ‘master’ playlist with one slide that includes all these individual zones.

Creating zones

When splitting the display area into sections, we must ensure that all these sections combined fill 100% of the screen. I recommend first drawing your zone layout on a paper, ideally a grid paper as it reduces possibility of making a mistake. In this example I am going to create a playlist with 4 zones in 16:9 aspect ratio.Hand drawn zones

As you see, I’ve scaled up my sketch 2 times to 32:18 (32 / 18 = 1.7777…). Since AR must contain only integers (full numbers), then having a zone 16:1,5 would not be possible, whereas it’s possible in the scaled up model (32:3). Having a grid on the paper makes it much easier to count the ratios, but you can also use ruler & centimeters/millimeters or just do flawless math. Let’s validate our zones:

Width = 5 + 23 + 4 = 32
Height = 15 + 3 = 18

Now let’s create individual zones, you can specify custom aspect ratio in the “Advanced” section

New playlist creation

When done, I have total of 5 playlists. I’ve changed background color for each of the zone for illustrative purposes.

All playlists created

Now let’s configure the master playlist:

  1. Set the duration of first slide in the playlist to ‘forever’ (master playlist should only contain 1 slide)
  2. [optional] Set slide background color to black
  3. Add individual zone playlists to the first slide. If your measurements were correct, they should nicely fill up entire screen:

Sub-playlists in master playlist

When creating a group for your screen, you only need to set the master playlist as the base playlist.


My sub-playlists are not nicely formatted?

When you create all zones one by one manually rather than using a pre-made layout, the system does not know which playlist is a child of which (and also you can include same playlist in several other playlists). Therefore the sub-playlists will not be formatted nicely as in the screenshot above, but do not worry – the formatting is only eye candy, all functionality still remains the same.